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Climate crimes – a critique

  • This paper aims on taking a critical approach to the emerging debate on climate criminal justice, that is mostly about something labeled „climate criminal law“ („Klimastrafrecht“). The critique is directed at climate crimes intended to protect our habitable climate („Klimaschutzstrafrecht“) or to prevent climate change („Klimawandelpräventionsstrafrecht“) staged as transformational criminal law. “Fighting" climate change with climate crimes can lull us into deceptive certainties and by extension into perilous idleness; and it will do so if we think of climate protection essentially in terms of traditional criminal law. Climate crimes are based on the idea that we can counter climate change with the "sharpest sword" available to a polity (cf. the German and Continental European ultima-ratio principle) and that we can thereby also get hold of "the powerful". But these certainties rest on but normative (and at heart: liberal) doctrines, which are deceptive in having lost touch with the realities of the administration of criminal justice. They obscure that more effective measures are available to mitigate the climate crisis and that "the powerful" will likely be shielded with and by climate crimes. Therefore, the climate crimes approach to the climate crisis may just turn out to be (self-)appeasement. It obfuscates that more effective measures are likely necessary to avert impending crises. Our critique is therefore not "only" directed at the symbolic, but the dysfunctional and "dark side" of climate crimes.

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Author:Christoph BurchardGND, Finn-Lauritz Schmidt
Series (Serial Number):Normative orders working paper : Normative Orders, Cluster of Excellence at Goethe University Frankfurt, Main (01/2023)
Publisher:Forschungszentrum "Normative Ordnungen" der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Working Paper
Date of Publication (online):2023/03/15
Date of first Publication:2023/03/15
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/03/15
Tag:Climate Change; Climate Protection; Criminal Law; Criminal Theory; Critique
Page Number:23
Institutes:Rechtswissenschaft / Rechtswissenschaft
Exzellenzcluster / Exzellenzcluster Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0